Mob enforcer says FBI agent warned mobsters of pending indictments

Wednesday, May 15th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BOSTON (AP) _ A confessed mob enforcer testified Wednesday that an FBI agent tipped him off about indictments being prepared against three alleged gangsters, prompting two to flee.

Kevin Weeks, testifying under a plea deal with prosecutors, said agent John Connolly Jr. visited him at the Boston liquor store where he worked in 1994 and passed on the warning.

At the time, Connolly was the FBI handler for mob informants James ``Whitey'' Bulger and Stephen ``The Rifleman'' Flemmi. He has pleaded innocent to racketeering, obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges.

Weeks has described the murder of Brian Halloran, whom prosecutors said had implicated Bulger and Flemmi in the 1981 killing of World Jai Alai president Roger Wheeler in Tulsa, Okla.

According to Weeks, he and Connolly spoke on Dec. 23, 1994, in the liquor store's walk-in cooler, which they knew could not be easily bugged. He said Connolly told him indictments for Bulger, Flemmi and mafia boss Frank P. ``Cadillac Frank'' Salemme were being prepared over the Christmas holiday.

Weeks, the self-described ``right-hand man'' of Bulger, testified that he contacted Bulger immediately, and Bulger promptly fled. Bulger has been on the run ever since, and is on the FBI's Most Wanted list.

Weeks also said he called Flemmi, but Flemmi didn't believe him because he said his source within the state police, Lt. Richard Schneiderhan, hadn't said anything.

``He was insistent that his guy was on top of it,'' Weeks said.

Connolly, 61, is accused of taking bribes and tipping Bulger and Flemmi about the indictments. He is also accused of giving the pair information about other FBI informants who were later killed.

Connolly has denied any wrongdoing, saying he was doing his job and didn't know the extent of the gangsters' crimes.

Bulger and Flemmi were leaders of the Winter Hill gang, an Irish crime syndicate that ran gambling, loan-sharking and other rackets in the Boston area.

Flemmi was arrested in 1995 and is awaiting trial for his alleged role in 10 murders. Schneiderhan, who has pleaded innocent, is awaiting trial on corruption charges.

Salemme fled but was captured in Florida in 1995 and is serving an 11-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to various charges, including bribery and extortion.

Weeks said he was testifying under a plea deal in which prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence of between five and 15 years in prison.